Description of triglycerides
Triglycerides are essential lipids for the body. Allowing the storage of fatty acids, they constitute an important reserve of energy. Triglycerides can come from the diet but can also be synthesized within the body. When there is too much in the blood, an excess of triglycerides exposes the body to complications. Hypertriglyceridemia is a cardiovascular risk factor.
Roles of triglycerides in the body
Form of storage of fatty acids
Triglycerides allow the storage of fatty acids in adipose tissue , and more precisely fat cells. Also called tri-acylglycerols, tri-acylglycerides or TAG, triglycerides are tri-esters of fatty acids. They are formed by the union of a glycerol and three fatty acids.
Triglycerides can come from the diet but can also be synthesized in the body, mostly in the liver . Insoluble in water, triglycerides are transported by specific lipoproteins:
- chylomicrons , which transport triglycerides from the diet of the small intestine to adipose tissue;
- Very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) , which allow the transport of triglycerides synthesized in the liver.
Main source of energy of the body
Stored at the level of adipocytes, triglycerides can be hydrolysed to release fatty acids. Once free, these can be used for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) , a molecule that provides the energy needed for many reactions in the body. Allowing the production of ATP, triglycerides are the main source of energy in the body.
The triglyceride requirements
Like cholesterol, triglycerides are lipids essential for the proper functioning of the body. According to the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES), the total intake of fat should not exceed 35 to 40% of the daily energy intake . This recommended part is now often exceeded, which exposes the body to a risk of hyperlipidemia , that is to say excess lipids.
It should be known that triglycerides represent on average 90% of the fat brought by the diet . They are found in many everyday foods, whether of animal or vegetable origin. In addition, triglycerides can also be synthesized in the body by the liver from sugars and alcohol.
The level of triglycerides in the blood is measured during a lipid assessment . This blood test includes various tests including the determination of triglyceride levels (tryglyceridemia) and the analysis of the total cholesterol level (cholesterolemia). A lipid assessment can prevent and identify various abnormalities such as:
- hypolipedimia or hyperlipidemia , abnormalities in lipid levels;
- hypocholesterolemia or hypercholesterolemia , abnormalities in cholesterol levels;
- Hypotriglyceridaemia or hypertriglyceridaemia , abnormalities in the level of triglycerides.
During a lipid test, the triglyceride level is considered normal in adults when it is less than 1.50 g / L , ie 1.7 mmol / L. Nevertheless, this reference value depends on many parameters including sex and age.
Triglyceride levels too low: the risk of triglyceride deficiency
Triglyceride deficiency, or hypotriglyceridemia, is a very rare abnormality . Characterized by an abnormally low level of triglycerides, this one can have various causes of which:
- insufficient dietary intake of fat;
- Abetalipoproteinemia, a hereditary genetic disease.
Triglyceride levels too high: the risk of hypertriglyceridaemia
Excess triglycerides, or hypertriglyceridemia, expose the body to complications. A high triglyceride level is a cardiovascular risk factor . There are various possible causes for hypertriglyceridemia such as:
- a diet too rich in lipids and / or sugars;
- excessive consumption of alcohol
- a diabetes unsupported;
- some liver diseases;
- taking certain medications